A dog is the only thing on earth
that loves you more than she loves herself.
– Josh Billings
In 2008, on my birthday, we got Roxy. She was eight weeks old and not suitable for the home she’d first gone to, so we bundled her up in Dan’s arms and took her home with us. Vince had always wanted a dog, and it felt like I was giving him a lifelong gift. What I didn’t know was how quickly I would fall in love with her.
Roxy: eight weeks, two years, and nine years © Lisa Shambrook
I’m not a dog person, let’s rephrase that, I wasn’t a dog person, but two weeks later and I was. My children were eight, twelve, and fifteen and a puppy was the perfect addition to our family.
How do you summarise ten years of loving a pup?
Roxy: two years old © Lisa Shambrook
We started her with a teeny football and it graduated to her favourite toy a full size Welsh rugby ball.
Her ears grew like satellites, like Yoda even, and she never really grew into them!
Roxy: 8 wks with Dan, 12 wks centre bottom, 14 wks with football © Lisa Shambrook
Green Castle Woods became a favourite walk, long and short walks amid the bluebells in spring, trickling streams in summer, autumn leaves, and mud in the winter.
Roxy: 10 months top left, 2 yrs bottom left, 5 and 6 right © Lisa Shambrook
We took walks on the beach, racing through the waves, and chasing seagulls. The Black Mountain made us cherish the space, and there were so many local walks to Cwm Oernant reservoirs up at Tanerdy, behind Glangwili hospital, down to the museum and back again, down to Gwili River where her favourite things were splashing in the river and collecting rocks.
Roxy: 2 years old © Lisa Shambrook
Cait, who’d begun scared of dogs turned into a pup aficionado, and Roxy loved catching bubbles.
Roxy playing Scrabble, walks and hugs: ages 2 – 4 years © Lisa Shambrook
Games, she even played Scrabble – as you can see…
Belly Rubs, the most perfect thing for dogs…
Family photos were a must with our most favourite family member. She loved walking down on Gwili Railway before the trains came back. The river was her favourite place to splash and chase pebbles. And our post-apocalyptic photo wouldn’t have been complete without our warrior pup.
Family photoshoots 2009, 2010 and 2016 © Lisa Shambrook
She gave us more love than we’d ever imagined possible. Cait fell completely in love with dogs. A pup offers you the most pure unconditional love you could ever find – the purest thing in the world.
Roxy and Cait and pure love: 6 – 8 years © Lisa Shambrook
As she got older her enthusiasm never waned. She loved her walks, playing, gathering rocks from the river, and having cuddles. She was unadulterated joy. The bottom right picture was only two months ago as autumn kicked in, this is her ‘happy out in nature’ expression.
Roxy home in the frost, Green Castle Woods, and hugs: 8 – 10 years © Lisa Shambrook
She carried on her ‘guard dog’ duties every day come rain or shine. No one, especially the postman, was going to catch her unawares!
Guard Dog duty: 9 – 10 years © Lisa Shambrook
It was the beginning of November that we noticed her slowing down. Walks became shorter and stretching to get off her sofa took longer. She had several fevers but a blood test was clear. Her walks got even shorter and the vet told us she had arthritis, expected in German Shepherds, but we had no idea what was lurking. Over one weekend she went off her food, looked exhausted, and felt miserable. After a ten minute Sunday walk she struggled and her breathing got progressively worse. It was off to the vet first thing Monday.
The results were completely unexpected. Aggressive metastatic cancer had begun in her belly, spread through her kidneys and had filled her lungs. We had twenty-four hours.
We weren’t even sure she’d make it through the night, but she held on with Vince (the person she loved the most in the world) sitting by her side.
Last few days: age 10 years and 4 months © Lisa Shambrook
Tuesday 27th November 2018 was the most heartbreaking day of our lives and we lost her.
Anyone who’s been owned by a beloved dog will agree that the grief is all consuming as you’re losing a member of your family. Someone who loved you like no one else ever will, someone who trusted you beyond anything, who would have fought for you, someone who gave you loyalty, friendship, and the most unconditional love you’ll ever find.
© Lisa Shambrook
She is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are her life, her love, her leader.
She will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of her heart.
You owe it to her to be worthy of such devotion.
– Agnes Repplier
Roxy: age 9 years © Lisa Shambrook
Roxy – Our German Shepherd – 10th August 2008 – 27th November 2018